Posts Categorized: Paperback

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
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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.

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hahaha Rogan finally got a shirt!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday – Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella

December 28, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia CarosellaDaughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella
Published by Lake Union Publishing on February 21st 2017
Pages: 432
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: Daughter of a Thousand Years

Greenland, AD 1000

More than her fiery hair marks Freydís as the daughter of Erik the Red; her hot temper and fierce pride are as formidable as her Viking father’s. And so, too, is her devotion to the great god Thor, which puts her at odds with those in power—including her own brother, the zealous Leif Eriksson. Determined to forge her own path, she defies her family’s fury and clings to her dream of sailing away to live on her own terms, with or without the support of her husband.

New Hampshire, 2016

Like her Icelandic ancestors, history professor Emma Moretti is a passionate defender of Norse mythology. But in a small town steeped in traditional values, her cultural beliefs could jeopardize both her academic career and her congressman father’s reelection. Torn between public expectation and personal identity, family and faith, she must choose which to honor and which to abandon.

In a dramatic, sweeping dual narrative that spans a millennium, two women struggle against communities determined to silence them, but neither Freydís nor Emma intends to give up without a fight.

About Amalia Carosella

Amalia Carosella began as a Biology major before taking Latin and falling in love with old heroes and older gods. After that, she couldn't stop writing about them, with the occasional break for more contemporary subjects. She graduated with a BA in Classical Studies as well as English. A former bookseller and avid reader, her current interests focus primarily on the Age of Heroes and Bronze Age Greece, though anything Viking Age or earlier is likely to capture her attention. Today, she lives in upstate New York with her husband, and dreams of the day when she will own goats.

Amalia particularly enjoys exploring myths that have been overlooked, the footnotes that change or challenge the most popular interpretations, and allow those characters involved a new voice to tell their stories.  Helen, Theseus, and Pirithous are some of her favorites!

She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

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VIKING ROMANCE. But also a dual timeline story and I do adore those.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Waiting on Wednesday – Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

December 21, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 8 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah HenstraMad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra
Published by Razorbill Canada on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 272
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
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Jane Austen meets Arthur Conan Doyle in a historical fiction debut for fans of Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein.

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people's voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her "Mad Miss Mimic" behind her back... and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo...but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations - but to do so, she must first find her voice.

About Sarah Henstra

Sarah Henstra is the author of Mad Miss Mimic (Razorbill, 2015), an historical novel for young adults. She is a professor of English literature at Ryerson University, where she teaches courses in Gothic Horror, Fairy Tales & Fantasies, Psychoanalysis & Literature, and Creative Writing. She grew up on the wild, wet coast of British Columbia, but now she lives in Toronto, Ontario with her two sons.

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The comparisons to Austen, Doyle, Sepetys, and Wein seem a little all over the place but this summary sounds like a fantastic gothic historical fiction. It’s been too long since I’ve picked up something in that vein.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Tour Review – The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen

December 8, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2016 4 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika JohansenThe Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Published by Harper on June 9th 2015
Pages: 528
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Also by this author: The Queen of the Tearling

three-half-stars

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

About Erika Johansen

Erika Johansen was educated at Swarthmore College and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the Author of The Invasion of the Tearling, and The Queen of the Tearling, the first two novels of The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy.

The Queen of the Tearling series

Book Tour Review – The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen [Purchase//Review]

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“Fortune favors the bold, history tells us. Therefore, it behooves us to be as bold as possible.”

The Invasion of the Tearling, the second installment of the trilogy, opens with Queen Kelsea struggling to devise a way to save the Tear from the incoming Mort invasion. As if an impending invasion wasn’t bad enough, Kelsea is also dealing with executions, romantic dalliances, her sapphires which have fallen silent magically speaking but are subtly changing her physical appearance for reasons unknown to her, and also the visions she’s having of a woman named Lily Mayhew from pre-Crossing America. The story roughly splits the time spent between both women, showcasing the differences between the time periods, but these visions aren’t happening without reason. Could learning about the past possibly help her secure the future for her people?

“The wrongs of the past are not less significant, they’re just harder to fix. And the longer you ignore them in favor of more pressing issues, the worse the harm, until the problems of the past actually create the problems of the future.”

If I felt like The Queen of the Tearling was lacking in complexity, The Invasion of the Tearling made up for that in spades. There were a great many tiny things going on and yet Johansen maintained a steady handle on everything and kept it from getting too complex. There was Kelsea’s changed appearance as well as her obsession with her appearance, her desire for romance (she is 19 after all), the Mort invasion, her strange fireplace visitor, uncovering the mysteries of the Mort Queen, the visions of Lily and determining what they could possibly mean, the peculiar conflict with the Church, and Kelsea’s struggle to reign in the darkness inside her that craves violence (it’s very Gollum-like).

Honestly, this strange world managed to completely enthrall me this time around even if it was terribly violent and exceptionally difficult to read at times. In the pre-Crossing world, women are treated as nothing more than incubators and the sole property of their husbands. Lily’s husband Greg was a loathsome individual that brutalized Lily often for no reason at all. She was under constant surveillance in her own home and wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without an escort. It felt very much like The Handmaid’s Tale: a horrifying train wreck that you can’t look away from. I’m not sure if this bird’s-eye view of the past was intended to inform us of how terrible the world could be, and that it’s not out of the question for it to go back to that way in time, or if there was some other lesson there. I don’t think we’ll be returning to Lily’s story though. It served its purpose by educating the reader on this “pre-Crossing America” that was previously only referenced briefly. Considering the amount of questions I had regarding the serious lack of world-building, I was pleased to finally get some answers.

“There’s a better world out there, so close we can almost touch it.”

I had a lot of issues with the first installment and I can’t say for sure if I would have continued reading if I hadn’t already committed to a complete binge read. Even with my concerns for the entirety of the plot and my mountain of unanswered questions, I was still always intrigued enough to keep reading. Whenever I have similar issues with books there’s always this voice in the back of my head that wonders whether or not it will get better and all be worth it in the end. Primary reason why I have such difficulty DNF-ing anything; that possibility, no matter how minuscule, that it would all pay off if I just had some patience and kept at it. I never would have expected to go from disliking The Queen of the Tearling to be completely absorbed in The Invasion of the Tearling. Sophomore slump? No such thing here. Granted, my mountain of unanswered questions has only been slightly diminished, however, the biggest issue which was dealt with is the issue with the past and present. We’re given a curious glimpse at the pre-Crossing world and what led to the world becoming how it is in Kelsea’s time. It transforms this straight fantasy/medieval story into something out of a dystopian novel and I am incredibly intrigued to see how everything ends up playing out in the final installment.

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This post was a part of ‘the Tearling trilogy’ blog tour.
Check out this post for a complete list of tour stops!

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Book Tour Review – The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

November 10, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2016 5 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika JohansenThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling, #1
Published by Harper Paperbacks on July 8th 2014
Pages: 464
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Also by this author: The Invasion of the Tearling

two-half-stars

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa and knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers established a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling. Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance.

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

About Erika Johansen

Erika Johansen was educated at Swarthmore College and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the Author of The Invasion of the Tearling, and The Queen of the Tearling, the first two novels of The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy.

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‘The future was only disasters of the past, waiting to happen anew.’

Princess Kelsey Raleigh Glynn has known from an early age that as soon as she turned nineteen, when she officially came of age, that she would ascend the throne as The Queen of the Tearling. Smuggled from the kingdom  in an effort to protect her from would-be assassins, she is raised by her foster parents Barty and Carlin and theirs are the only two individuals she interacts with her entire life. Her mother, long dead, had left her kingdom in the hands of her brother, Thomas Raleigh, and Kelsea’s arrival to court certainly throws a wrench in his continued plan to rule. The policies put in place by her mother and upheld by her Uncle don’t sit well with Kelsea and she sets out to make things better so her people are truly protected but this is only the start of her journey.

‘The Queen held up her hands for silence. At that moment, Javel knew for certain that she truly was the Queen, though he never knew why or how he knew.’

Regardless of all the talk of thrones and kingdoms and courts, this story is not set in some medieval past but rather a distant future where an unexplained catastrophe has managed to bring about a dark age. No technology exists, books are not commonly owned with most individuals not even possessing the ability to read, violence is rampant, and slave ownership is customary. This story definitely would have worked far better if it was a true fantasy (which it is not, even though it is marketed as such) rather than a future based on our current reality, especially with the lack of explanation regarding how we as a society could have possibly gotten to that point. It could almost be called a dystopian, but even that doesn’t completely fit. Honestly, it’s better just to go in with the belief this is nothing more than a fantasy because if you attempt to rationalize the world-building you’ll be at it for days. In terms of this being viewed as a fantasy story though, this has been billed as an exciting new entry into the fantasy and alas I believe this to be anything but. Simply put, this fantasy and historical fiction mash-up will appeal to fans of the genre even if it doesn’t necessarily bring anything unique to the table.

Game of Thrones meets Hunger Games has been the standard comparison and while there are aspects that fit with both stories, it unfortunately only sets the reader up for failure if going in with that comparison in mind. The Game of Thrones comparison is shown in the medieval aspects, the political strife, and the inner turmoil of the court. Everyone is either good or evil though, Kelsey is something of a Mother Teresa and the villain of this tale is a mass murderer so it’s completely black and white. And speaking of color, there is a decided lack of diversity and that is something that I admittedly fail to notice in most cases, but apparently not this one. While there may be some form of diversity present in some way shape or form, it’s never referenced. The Hunger Games comparison is mostly in regards to the the heroine, but Kelsey is certainly no Katniss. Our character definitely had appealing qualities but we got off to a rocky start. Here’s a girl that has had no interaction with the outside world and her only knowledge consists of what she is told and what she has read in books. As soon as she has begun her journey to her kingdom, she transforms into this individual completely lacking in self-doubt (minus the strange fixation she has on her plainness and of others beauty or lack of), holds herself and comports herself as a Queen would be expected to. And while I loved this aspect of her because she was a force to be reckoned with, it just didn’t fit with our initial introduction to her. I did thoroughly enjoy the magical aspects of this tale, the sapphire necklaces that she wears, and the power that she learns to wield.

 While I did not adore this as many have mainly due to my hopes for additional world-building explanations, this world still managed to sufficiently intrigue me. The Queen of the Tearling is the start of a trilogy and I have hope that Johansen will be able to build further on the foundation she’s laid.

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This post was a part of ‘the Tearling trilogy’ blog tour.
Check out this post for a complete list of tour stops!

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Waiting on Wednesday – Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

October 26, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuireDusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor on January 10th 2017
Pages: 176
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Horror
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: Indexing

A thrilling and atmospheric story of a ghost trying to make things right from the author of Every Heart a Doorway.

When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline while dodging meddlesome witches.

But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.

About Seanan McGuire

Seanan is the author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. In case that wasn't enough, she also writes under the pseudonym "Mira Grant." For details on her work as Mira, check out MiraGrant.com.

Seanan lives in a creaky old farmhouse in Northern California, which she shares with her cats, Alice and Thomas, a vast collection of creepy dolls and horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard. She has strongly-held and oft-expressed beliefs about the origins of the Black Death, the X-Men, and the need for chainsaws in daily life.

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This sounds fascinating. Always love a good combination of Urban Fantasy and Horror.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Waiting on Wednesday – Yesternight by Cat Winters

July 20, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Yesternight by Cat WintersYesternight by Cat Winters
Published by William Morrow on October 4th 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing.

Her critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Her upcoming novels include The Cure for Dreaming (Amulet Books/October 2014) and The Uninvited (William Morrow/2015), and she's a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.

Cat lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

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I absolutely adored The Uninvited. Adored. It wasn’t quite as popular as her Young Adult novels, being her first targeted solely towards Adults, but I feel like her books really straddle the line and can be equally appreciated by all. Can’t wait for this one though!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Waiting on Wednesday – Behind the Throne (The Indranan War #1) by K. B. Wagers

June 1, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 1 Comment

Waiting on Wednesday – Behind the Throne (The Indranan War #1) by K. B. WagersBehind the Throne by K. B. Wagers
Series: The Indranan War #1
Published by Orbit on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 432
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Paperback
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An action-packed, Star Wars-style science fiction adventure trilogy from debut author K. B. Wagers.

Hail Bristol has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire.

When she is dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir, she finds that trading her ship for a palace is her most dangerous move yet.

About K. B. Wagers

K.B. Wagers has a bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and her non-fiction writing has earned her two Air Force Space Command media contest awards. A native of Colorado, she lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and son. In between books, she can be found playing in the mud, running on trails, dancing to music, and scribbling on spare bits of paper.

So this one sounds like a ton of fun! I can’t remember where I first saw this but I remember it being recommended for fans of Rachel Aaron’s Paradox series and I’m all over that. Also, one of the key selling points is “Imagine if Han Solo were a woman — you’d get Hail Bristol” — which also definitely works for me.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Waiting on Wednesday – Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow

May 4, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror by Ellen DatlowNightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow
Published by Tachyon Publications on November 1st 2016
Pages: 432
Genres: Horror
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

From the most acclaimed horror editor in the business comes the most groundbreaking horror of the new millennium. In Nightmares, editor extraordinaire Datlow has skillfully reprised her classic anthology Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror. Here you will find iconic authors mingling with unexpected new masters of terror. These tales represent the finest stories of a new era, in which evil both everyday and unfathomable will simply not go away.

In "Ambitious Boys Like You," two inexperienced thieves discover a a residence which makes Home Alone seem like a playground romp. The question of "Is She Wicked? Is She Good?," is asked by concerned parents whose cruel child courts fairy revenge. The "Ash Mouth Man" may be just a legend to girls who wish to waste away - but is he only worth just one kiss?

About Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Terri Windling).

She is the winner of multiple awards for her editing, including the World Fantasy Award, Locus Award, Hugo Award, International Horror Guild Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Bram Stoker Award. She was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for "outstanding contribution to the genre." And has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association.

She co-hosts the popular Fantastic Fiction at KGB Bar series of readings in New York City where she lives.

I’m a huge fan of horror and when I go too long without reading any I start getting antsy. (It’s been too long.) I just came across this upcoming horror anthology and it sounds spectacular. There are a total of 24 stories from various authors. A few authors to note: Dan Chaon (Await Your Reply), Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), Caitlín R. Kiernan (The Drowning Girl), Garth Nix (Sabriel), and Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim). Here’s a complete list of authors if you’re interested.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

April 21, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 6 Comments

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

Book Review – A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill BrysonA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Published by Broadway Books on November 1st 1997
Pages: 304
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Format: Paperback
Source: Blogging for Books
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four-stars

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration,A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.

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Photo Credit: http://appalachiantrials.com/

“Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.”

A Walk in the Woods is somewhat of a travelogue of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200 mile trail that passes through 14 states. A part of me mulls over that statistic and thinks, “Wow, that’d be amazing” and the other, predominant part of me thinks:

I am so not a nature person. I’d like to think I am, would like to get excited about the idea of camping, but once I get out in it it’s a whole different story. I once told this guy I was dating that “Sure! I love hiking!” and next thing I knew I was being drug on a one-way 6-mile trip to visit some lake.

Liberty Lake – Ruby Mountains, NV Photo Credit: http://www.rubymountains.net/

Yeah, yeah, the lake is admittedly extremely gorgeous but did I mention it’s like 6 miles up a mountain? And that you at some point have to go down 6 miles to get back to your car? Suffice it to say, I learned my lesson and am far more honest about my aversion to nature. So that small part of me that likes to think I’m gung-ho about nature can be satisfied by reading about others adventures like this because I’m simply not cut out for that shit.

A Walk in the Woods not only details Bryson’s adventures on the trail with his friend Katz, but goes into the particulars of the history of the Appalachian trail, the towns it runs through, the plant and animal life, and the people who made history by tackling the trail in its entirety. The history bits were incredibly informative considering I knew next to nothing about the AT (Appalachian Trail) but they took up far more of the book than I had expected. While interesting, I was invariably anxious to get back to the bits about Bryson and Katz’s actual adventures. They were quite hilarious at times. Bryson and Katz are both middle-aged men at the time of this story and Katz especially is no where close to being fit enough to carry a full pack and walk at the same time. On their very first day starting out, during moments of great displeasure, Katz started throwing stuff off his pack he deemed non-essential. Like food. Hilarious to read about but that had to be pretty exasperating to his hiking partner.

Speaking of his hiking partner, Bryson, well… this is his story after all. He wrote it. But honestly? Bryson was a bit of a snooty prick. He didn’t start hiking the AT as some professional hiker that knows anything and everything about long distance hiking (which is what I loved most about him first). Nope, he went to REI like us other newbie hikers would end up doing and bought out the store. Regardless of his inexperience, he was constantly criticizing people for their equipment choices or the people they encountered that wanted to have “gear chats”. Admittedly, I would probably have also made fun of the guy with the Enviro Meter and felt the need to ask if it also bakes cookies too. While these exchanges were certainly humorous, he still came off as quite a prig.

Another thing about undertaking the AT, us normal folk with day jobs couldn’t even consider doing something like this. And don’t even get me started on the amount of equipment he bought, the plane tickets to get to the start of the trail, and all the motels and restaurants visited along the way. Before long, this story starts to seem like a fantasy, albeit a fascinating one. (And that’s another thing, even though I’ve already admitted that I am not a nature girl, occasionally stopping off in various towns to stay the night in a motel seems a bit like cheating. I can understand stopping off to stock up on provisions but then you get your ass back out and pitch your tent. But maybe that’s just me.) Even if taking months off work was in your realm of possibility, could you truly imagine doing it? “Yeah I hiked around the woods for 5 solid months.” Sure, people figure out how to make it happen all the time and not just on the AT. The Pacific Crest Trail that extends through California, Oregon and Washington for 2,663 miles. The Continental Divide Trail that extends through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana for 3,100 miles. There’s also the John Muir Trail that goes through California at a mere 210 miles. I can appreciate the withdrawal from society and getting back to the basics but damn. Hats off to you people that make it happen.

What I loved most about this is its simplicity. It wasn’t written as a self-help, motivating guide to losing weight and getting healthy or rediscovering yourself in nature or anything of the sort. A Walk in the Woods is simply about getting back to basics and rediscovering nature as it was intended. Bryson’s story won’t necessarily drive you to start planning your own excursion to the AT, but instead brings to life the tragic story of nature being overtaken in the United States and the importance of preserving it. Even a non-outdoorsy type like myself can appreciate that.

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