Genre: Greek Mythology

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

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

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Oxford Inheritance: A Novel by A.A. McDonald
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published by HarperAudio on February 23rd 2016
Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library Thing
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
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At prestigious Oxford University, an American student searches for the truth about her mother’s death in this eerie, suspenseful thriller that blends money, murder, and black magic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

DNF @ 7%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also by this author: Warm Bodies

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R is recovering from death.

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

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

DNF @ 13%

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

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

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

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

And that is all we get by way of explanation.

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

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Early Review + Giveaway! Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton

January 15, 2013 Bonnie Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2013, YA 0 Comments

I received this book for free from a Giveaway, 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 + Giveaway! Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi AshtonEverbound by Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 22nd 2013
Pages: 358
Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Everneath

three-stars

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

Everneath series

Everneath (Everneath, #1)Neverfall (Everneath, #1.5)

Everneath (Everneath #1)
Neverfall (Everneath #1.5)

**Spoilers to follow for those of you who have not yet read Everneath!**

Everbound was quite the adventure! I wasn’t the hugest fan of the first installment was this one was fun, entertaining, and even a bit exciting. Everbound picks up where the last left off with Nikki desperately trying to come up with a plan to rescue Jack. Once she realizes that she requires Cole’s help for this to ever be possible, she also realizes she has to put more trust in him than she ever has before. He’s never given her a reason to trust him but she’s not left with much choice if she ever wants to see Jack again.

Over 100 of the first pages is wasted on Nikki and her planning on how to save Jack. I understand the need for developing but I can’t help but feel some of it could have been cut out because once the action really started, it was quite the interesting story. Everbound took bits from several mythological stories: Persephone and Hades (Greek), Orpheus and Eurydice (Greek), Inanna and her descent into the underworld (Sumerian), Daedalus’ labyrinth (Greek), and Dante’s Inferno (Italian). The entire plot of the story was heavily based on these myths and it was interesting to see how these myths were altered to suit the story.

Everbound put major focus on the development of Cole and Nikki’s relationship which continued building that love triangle that I knew was inevitably coming. Considering I was a bigger fan of Cole than Jack, this wasn’t too big of a gripe for me. It’s a sure bet readers will end up liking Cole a lot more as the story progresses, as he shows a noble and honest side to him that wasn’t evident previously.

This was an extremely close to a 4 star read for me… until the end. The ending really ruined any fun I had over the course of the previous 350+ pages and made me confused and irritable and other related adjectives. I know I will now have to read the final installment in the trilogy and hope that all the time I spent on this series ends up being worth it. As it stands right now though I’m not impressed and I’m crossing my fingers for a big finish at the very least.

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Book Review – Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton

January 12, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi AshtonEverneath by Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 24th 2012
Pages: 384
Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s...

“Remembering is easy. It’s forgetting that’s hard.”

Nikki wants to forget. She wants to forget that the man responsible for her mothers death has been set free. She wants to forget about the girl she saw walking out of her boyfriends dorm room. She just wants to forget and to stop hurting. And Cole is the answer to her problems because he’s an Everliving. She stays with Cole in the Everneath as his Forfeit. He Fed on her energy for 100 years before she was empty and he was fully satisfied, but she didn’t die. She was able to Return to the living and her life and say the final goodbyes she wasn’t able to say the first time before she has to return to the Everneath for good.

I must say I was completely intrigued by the mythology aspects of this book and was the big reason I finally read this (well that and I ended up with an ARC of Everbound). But there was quite a difference between this and the original Hades and Persephone myth. There were also bits of Egyptian hieroglyphics/mythology that were thrown in which didn’t appear to have much connection to the original story and didn’t make much sense period. But I found the storyline to be strikingly similar to the Matrix. Weird statement, I know, but hear me out.

“After the Feed, the Forfeits are used to power the Everneath. They supply thew hole place with energy. Cole calls it a battery. One little cog in a giant generator.”

Human beings are harvested for their heat and small amount of electricity they produce which is then used to power the Matrix. With the Everneath, it seems as if emotions are harvested for energy but both concepts struck me as eerily similar. Especially since ultimately humans are being used as a power source.

The beginning of the story had a bit of a rough start. The Everneath and the entire Feeding process was poorly explained and left a lot of questions. But my big issue was the fact that Nikki reappears after being gone for 6 months (even though 100 years passed in the Everneath) but everyone brushes it off as her having simply ran away. From what knowledge we’re given about her character she was a good kid that didn’t act out or get into a lot of trouble but everyone is under the assumption that she had ran off and ended up going into rehab. And her father didn’t appear shocked at all and there was no reference to him even looking for her. Considering her father is the Mayor I would have expected there would’ve been a bit more attention given to her disappearance.

Nikki’s whole reason for returning was to give her loved ones a proper goodbye but once she does she barely talks to anyone and acts like she wants nothing to do with Jack especially. She only had a certain amount of time before she had to return and she was wasting it. It really made me wonder why she went back at all. That whole bit didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Again, her whole reason for Returning was to say goodbye. She didn’t have any flicker of hope that she would be able to remain on earth, but as soon as she did she began to frantically come up with a plan. She decided to involve Jack on everything she had been through and his complete acceptance of everything including the bits about Cole feeding off her for 100 years was so completely unrealistic it was ridiculous. To use another Matrix reference, even Neo lost his shit and puked all over the place when he found the gruesome truth and he was a straight badass.

I must say though, despite the major issues I may have had with this novel, for some reason it still ended up being a super entertaining read. There wasn’t any instalove or even very much of a love triangle, although there are two male love interests. I have a feeling though that there’s more potential for a love triangle developing in future installments. The super fantastic ending wasn’t that super fantastic, however, it did manage to tug at my heart strings a bit. I’ll still be continuing this series despite my low rating because I feel that it still holds some potential. *fingers crossed*

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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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