Genre: Thriller

Book Review – The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

October 31, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck HoganThe Night Eternal by Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro
Series: The Strain Trilogy #3
Published by HarperCollins on October 25, 2011
Pages: 560
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Paranormal, Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Strain, Trollhunters

four-stars

It's been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There has been a mass extermination of humans orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers. The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It's their job to overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.

Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master's demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved?

Night Eternal: the final installation in the Strain Trilogy. As the title may tell you, you’re in for a very dark and desolate journey. I will keep this short and sweet as much of this novel needs to be experienced firsthand, instead of through a review.

The Storyline
As the story opens, Dr. Ephraim (Eph) Goodweather is still reeling from the loss of his son, Zachary. Due to the vampire nature, his mother Kelly came back for him after she had already been turned.
”The insidious epidemiology of the virus spread in a vampiric perversion of human love.”
Norah and Fet are slowly developing a relationship between each other as Eph has been continually absent from Norah’s life.

The world they live in now is an extremely bleak one. The vampires control everything and you don’t get fed unless you work for them or reside in a blood farm.

“The farms were the only entirely different thing in this new world. That and the fact that there was no more educational system. No more schooling, no more reading, no more thinking.”

The blood farms were exactly as they sound: humans were rounded up as they were in concentration camps and they are drained of blood. Only the young and healthy were kept; the older humans simply weren’t kept around.

‘The darkly quiet exterior of the camp spoke to an oppressive efficiency that was almost as shocking.’

The Vampires
I had been anxiously awaiting how the authors decided to handle the creation aspect. I’ll keep this as a spoiler as some readers may be pleasantly surprised and I would hate to ruin this for them. View Spoiler »

The Writing
I had complained early on in the trilogy that the books read like a screenplay and that they would do fabulous as a movie, but left a little to be desired as a novel. The writing in the third, despite the bleakness, was completely enthralling and was worth suffering through the darkness. And dark it was; there was not one single of iota of happiness until maybe the very end and even that can is up for debate.

Final Thoughts
I’m quite pleased at how the trilogy was wrapped up. Ending a series well always seems like such a struggle in trying to wrap up all the storylines and loose ends but I think the authors pulled it off sufficiently. I’m not sure that it’s exactly what I had anticipated, not sure what I would have changed if I could, but you’re still left with a feeling of completion. All in all this is one of the best vampire series I have read; definitely one of my favorites.

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Book Review – The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

October 30, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck HoganThe Strain by Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro
Series: The Strain Trilogy #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 28, 2009
Pages: 612
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Night Eternal, Trollhunters

three-half-stars

An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel. Brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable, The Strain is a nightmare of the first order.

The Strain is a new series by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. This book had a really great concept and it was quite original. The summary itself spooked me…

‘A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.’

…and it certainly didn’t stop there. This is not your average romanced vampire novel. This was a very exciting, fast paced, nail biter, edge of your seat kinda book. Not a recommendation before bedtime.

My one main issue that dropped this novel from 4/5 stars down to 3 was the writing style… it read to me more like a screenplay where nothing was really explained, like it would be better left to an actor acting out a script. I had a hard time connecting with the characters for this reason. This was overall a highly enjoyable novel regardless of my 3 star rating and I will definitely be continuing this series in the future.

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Book Review – Bonnie (Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #3) by Iris Johansen

October 20, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 6 Comments

Book Review – Bonnie (Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #3) by Iris JohansenBonnie by Iris Johansen
Series: ,
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 18th 2011
Pages: 373
Genres: Contemporary, Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Quinn

one-star

The truth has eluded her for years. . . . Now is she ready to face it?

When Eve Duncan gave birth to her daughter, she experienced a love she never knew existed. Nothing would stand in the way of giving Bonnie a wonderful life---until the unthinkable happened and the seven-year-old vanished into thin air. Eve found herself in the throes of a nightmare from which there was no escape. But a new Eve emerged: a woman who would use her remarkable talent as a forensic sculptor to help others find closure in the face of tragedy. Now with the help of her beloved Joe Quinn and CIA agent Catherine Ling, Eve has come closer than ever to the truth. But the deeper she digs, the more she realizes that Bonnie’s father is a key player in solving this monstrous puzzle. And that Bonnie’s disappearance was not as random as everyone had always believed . . .

The Eve, Quinn and Bonnie Series

This is the series that I have read the longest, at least a decade. I read all 11 of her Eve Duncan series and when the author announced that she’d be making a final trilogy to fully resolve everything, well, I was ecstatic. The Eve Duncan series chronicles a mother losing her child and never having the closure she needed, never knowing what happened to her, her daughter Bonnie simply disappeared off the face of the Earth. This kick started her career in forensic sculpting and she began helping other families who had lost children bring them home finally. So, this is essentially the conclusion to a 14 book series that I’ve read from the very beginning and loved. I had a lot riding on Iris Johansen being able to pull this off in making it feel the series came full circle and I wasn’t left with any nagging questions. I’m thinking I set the bar too high.

The writing seemed a bit too literal, especially since it’s such a long term series it seemed as if she was writing so that someone could jump into the series at any point and completely understand what was going on. I think people need to just read from the beginning so the author isn’t making statements like this:

”You’ve been trained in police sketching as part of your training, Eve.”

No shit? Trained as part of her training? Redundant much?

Bottom line, the constant repeating of everything that was gone over millions of times already was irritating. And I swear, the last 50 pages from the previous book were pasted at the beginning of this one. I appreciate the refresher but seriously?

The Ending

This is going to be one ginormous spoiler but I HAVE to say it. So if you haven’t read this book yet and still have intentions of doing so? Don’t click the spoiler button.

…I warned you

View Spoiler »

I have nothing more to say, but even if I did I don’t feel like wasting my time on this series anymore. It’s over, the big finale has been read after so many years of waiting, and I’m one seriously disappointed reader.

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Book Review – Creep (Creep #1) by Jennifer Hillier

September 6, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Creep (Creep #1) by Jennifer HillierCreep by Jennifer Hillier
Series: Creep #1
Published by Gallery Books on July 5th 2011
Pages: 432
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-half-stars

Pulsing with the dark obsession of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” this taut thriller—Jennifer Hillier’s superb debut—rockets from its seductive opening to a heartpounding climax not easily forgotten.

If he can’t have her . . .

Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren’t, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she’s finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she’s taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away.

. . . no one else can.

Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely get her fired and destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancé discovering her most intimate secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn’t resist—who is now the monster who won’t let her go.

When I first became an avid reader I read primarily psychological thriller type novels; that’s almost all I read. So when I heard about this one, it not only sounded good, but I realized I had yet to read a single psychological thriller this year I decided to dive into this one right away. My eventual love for this novel was a combination of the long time spent away from the genre and the fact that the novel was truly riveting and I couldn’t stop turning pages (or clicking my kindle button).

Essentially the story is Dr. Sheila Tao, a professor of psychology, and a recovering sex addict. After her first marriage ended when she caught her husband sleeping with his male nurse she went through a hard period in her life where she kept seeking validation of herself as an attractive woman. Waking up in her car one night, half naked, and having no idea what just occurred she knew she had hit rock bottom and needed help. After going through the 12-step recovery process she begins dating a man named Morris and her life seems to be going on the right track again. After the death of her father she relapses and begins an affair with one of her graduate students, Ethan Wolfe. After 3 months into the affair, Morris proposes and Sheila decides to end things with Ethan. What follows is a crazy psychological roller coaster where Sheila realizes Ethan isn’t willing to let her go that easily and that if he can’t have her… well, then nobody can.

This book was exciting enough to have me reading like a madman to get to the end; I finished this in less than 24 hours. The plot wasn’t overly complex, but still managed to throw a few curveballs in that you may or may not see coming. Overall I was incredibly pleased with this novel and will be looking for future books by this author.

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Book Review – Quinn (Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #2) by Iris Johansen

July 20, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Quinn (Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #2) by Iris JohansenQuinn by Iris Johansen
Series: ,
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 12th 2011
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Bonnie

three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen explores the darkest corners of the human heart as forensic sculptor Eve Duncan closes in on the killer who stole her daughter so many years ago.

As a former Navy SEAL turned cop, Joe Quinn has seen the face of evil and knows just how deadly it can be. When he first met Eve Duncan, he never expected to fall in love with a woman whose life would be defined by her dual desires to bring home her missing daughter and discover the truth behind her disappearance---no matter how devastating. With the help of CIA agent Catherine Ling, they make a shocking discovery that sheds new light on young Bonnie’s abduction and puts Quinn squarely in the crosshairs of danger. Eve’s first love, John Gallo, a soldier supposedly killed in the line of duty, is very much alive---and very much a threat.

Emotionally charged, with one shock after another, Quinn reveals the electricity of Joe and Eve’s first connection, and how they fell in love in the midst of haunting tragedy. As their search takes them deeper and deeper into a web of murder and madness, Joe and Eve must confront their most primal fears . . . and test their resolve to uncover the ultimate bone-chilling truth.

 

The Eve, Quinn and Bonnie series

Eve (Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #1) by Iris Johansen {Purchase}

‘Quinn’ is tagged as the 2nd of a final trilogy; however, Iris Johansen’s ‘Eve Duncan’ series is the series this trilogy is based off of. If you want to be able to truly understand and appreciate this trilogy, I would highly recommend reading the Eve Duncan series first.

Iris Johansen’s ’Eve Duncan’ series has become a personal favorite of mine over the last decade. Personally fascinated by crime novels with interesting forensic tidbits at an early age, stumbling upon this series was quite a discovery for me. Eve is a strong and independent woman and is also a trained forensic sculptor who performs skull recreations to put a face to lost children to help bring their families peace. This is all in hope that one day she’ll find her daughter Bonnie who was kidnapped when she was 7 years old. ‘Quinn’ delves into the past when Eve and Quinn first met and he was first assigned to help find her daughter. It was very interesting to see the change in Eve and how she became a forensic sculptor; not simply out of the desire to find her own daughter, but out of the realization that she could do something to help the grieving families who hurt much like she does from the loss of her own child.

The story opens where ’Eve’ left off, with Joe Quinn in the ICU after being stabbed by Paul Black. In the hospital, Eve sees the ghost of her daughter Bonnie staring down at Quinn and thinks that he’s dying and she has come to take him to the afterlife. Catherine Ling has gone to track down John Gallo to get him to talk after Paul Black claimed John Gallo killed Bonnie. Only problem is John Gallo doesn’t remember him doing that; but doesn’t rule it out as a possibility considering his mental issues after being a POW in Korea.

The Good
My favorite bit was learning more about Eve and Joe’s past and when they first met each other. Knowing from reading the Eve Duncan series, Eve and Joe have a fierce love for each other and I loved being able to see how it all began.

The Bad
Okay, so after reading 13 books about Eve Duncan I think I’m a bit biased regarding my never-ending love for this series. With that said the one bad thing I do have to say this book resolved zero questions. Sure all sorts of new questions got raised, but was anything solved? Hmm… no not really. Which is really irritating. Sure us readers only have to wait 3 months before ’Bonnie’ comes out, but I still would’ve appreciated SOME answers.

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