Publisher: Bantam

Rapid Reviews – The Line That Held Us, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Awakened

July 29, 2018 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2018 2 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Reviews – The Line That Held Us, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, AwakenedThe Line That Held Us by David Joy
Illustrator: David Palumbo
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on August 14, 2018
Pages: 272
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Where All Light Tends to GoThe Weight of This World

Short Summary: Darl Moody knows that he’s poaching when he sets out to go hunting late one night but he’s got many mouths to feed. The bullet he fires intended for an animal turns out to be none other than Carol Brewer who was also poaching on the same land, and instead of owning up to his mistake he buries the body and hopes that his terrifying brother Dwayne doesn’t ever connect the dots.

Thoughts: David Joy’s novels are impressively engaging and invoke the essence of the South in all the best (and terrible) ways

Verdict: The Line That Held Us was a riveting story of the reverberations of vengeance that was poignantly written. In his third novel, David Joy is clearly only getting better.

four-stars

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

Rapid Reviews – The Line That Held Us, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, AwakenedI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Published by Harper on February 27, 2018
Pages: 328
Genres: True Crime
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the posthumous culmination of Michelle McNamara’s research into the identity of the Golden State Killer, a man who committed at least 12 murders and more than 50 rapes.

Thoughts: The shining light of this true crime story is the passion and drive that McNamara possessed to uncover the mystery of a serial killer that haunted people for decades, and how heartbreaking it is that she wasn’t able to witness the day that he was finally found.

Verdict: Despite this being very obviously incomplete, I understand why the publication was so important. Did her research point directly to the killer? I would say no, however, the continued interest in the investigation clearly kept it alive when so many cases would have normally been forgotten, relegated to a basement alongside other cold cases.

three-half-stars

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

Rapid Reviews – The Line That Held Us, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, AwakenedNightflyers by George R.R. Martin
Illustrator: David Palumbo
Published by Bantam on May 29, 2018
Pages: 208
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: A group of individuals set out on a scientific expedition to uncover the mysteries of an alien race but along the way, an alien presence makes itself known and the group is fighting for their lives while trying to figure out if this is the same alien presence that they sought.

Thoughts: This novella has an impressive concept but the wide cast of characters that went without proper development and the strange focus on the sex lives of these 9 individuals was needless and I would’ve much preferred more details on the mysterious alien race instead.

Verdict: Nightflyers is a very unsettling little read and I’m very much looking forward to the visual aspects of bringing this novella to life on the small screen.

three-half-stars

Rapid Reviews – The Line That Held Us, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Awakened

Awakened by James S. MurrayDarren Wearmouth
Series: Awakened #1
Published by Harper Voyager on June 26, 2018
Pages: 287
Genres: HorrorSci-fi
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: When a new subway line connecting New Jersey and New York makes its inaugural journey, it arrives in the station to a crowd of spectators that watch in horror as they realize that the train is completely empty but there’s blood everywhere.

Thoughts: This one was a ton of fun and full of creepy moments but the shift in the second half where the story focused primarily on political drama/conspiracies instead was somewhat disappointing.

Verdict: With similarities to The Strain and the very script-like way this was written, this would be a most excellent tv show.

three-half-stars

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

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Waiting on Wednesday – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #1-3) by George R.R. Martin

September 9, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #1-3) by George R.R. MartinA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin
Illustrator: Gary Gianni
Published by Bantam on October 6th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Nightflyers

Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name (hidden from all he and Dunk encounter) is Aegon Targaryen. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two . . . as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead—yet.

About George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin has been a full-time writer for over 25 years. He is the author of the acclaimed, internationally bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the basis of HBO's popular Game of Thrones television series. Martin has won multiple science fiction awards, including 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, the Bram Stoker, the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Daedelus, the Balrog, and the Daikon (Japanese Hugo).

I’ve wanted to read the Tales of Dunk and Egg for quite some time but my library had only purchased the first one and I never got around to buying them myself. This is the complete collection of all three books with brand new illustrations as well!

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

dvd-pearl

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Shadows Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff

February 20, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Shadows Over Paradise by Isabel WolffShadows Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff
Published by Bantam on February 10th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Vintage Affair, The Very Picture of You

four-stars

A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets.

Jenni is a 'ghost': she writes the lives of other people. It's a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own.

Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell.

But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara's help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?

Gripping, poignant and beautifully researched, Ghostwritten is a story of survival and love, of memory and hope.

‘This was Polvarth, a place I’d vowed never to return to, yet which I saw, in my mind, every day.
It was my idea.
I closed my eyes as the memories rushed back.
We did it all by ourselves.’

Jenni Clark is a ghostwriter that takes the ghosts of a person’s past and molds them into a story. Her most recent commission is Klara, a woman that survived after being confined as a child in a camp in the midst of World War II. Klara currently resides in a town called Polvarth, a town that Jenni spent time there and where the ghosts of her own past currently reside. The opportunity presented to her in this job though is enough to make her willing to finally face those ghosts after all these years.

Jenni has run into trouble in her relationship with Rick; he wants to have children and she does not. The two agree that maybe this trip to Polvarth will give each of them a chance to reflect on their lives together and hopefully help them to work things out. The issue behind her refusal to have children stems from a childhood incident that she’s never told him or anyone for that matter. The tragedy is one she blames herself for and it isn’t until Klara shares her own story does she realize how similar the two are, and how both women need to find it in their hearts to finally forgive themselves in order to truly move on. Jenni’s story may have been mostly a side-story but it was still a vital piece of the whole story that was interwoven and resolved beautifully.

Stories about World War II, especially when they are centered around a concentration camp, are some of the hardest stories for me to read yet I’m completely incapable of passing one up. They are typically all stories about general devastation but Klara’s story adds a piece of history to WWII that I didn’t previously know much about concerning the Japanese invasion of the Dutch colony of Java where Klara grew up. The natives of the island were left in peace but any and all European residents of the island were forced into concentration camps. Her story details being separated from family, the incessant degradation, the backbreaking work, the hunger, the sickness, and inevitably the death. They were constantly forced to travel on foot to new camps which were generally worse than the camp they left behind. Even after the war was finally over and they were no longer being held against their will in the camps, they were forced to stay when the natives wished to cause them harm for what happened to their country at the hands of the Japanese. It was of course incredibly painful to read but Shadows Over Paradise did a brilliant job at bringing this unforgettable time in history to life.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys {Purchase}
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff {Purchase}
Night by Elie Wiesel {Purchase}

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Waiting on Wednesday – Shadows Over Paradise: A Novel by Isabel Wolff

September 10, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 1 Comment

Waiting on Wednesday – Shadows Over Paradise: A Novel by Isabel WolffShadows Over Paradise: A Novel by Isabel Wolff
Published by Bantam on February 10th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Vintage Affair, The Very Picture of You, Shadows Over Paradise

For readers of Kate Morton and Jamie Ford comes a captivating novel of two very different women, struggling to come to terms with the ghosts from their past—by the internationally bestselling author of A Vintage Affair and The Very Picture of You
 
Sometimes the only way forward is through the past.
 
Jenni Clark is a ghostwriter. She loves to immerse herself in other people’s stories—a respite from her own life, and from a relationship that appears to be nearing its end. Jenni’s latest assignment takes her to a coastal hamlet in England, where she’s agreed to pen the memoir of an elderly farm owner named Klara. Jenni assumes the project will be easy: a quiet, ordinary tale of a life well lived.

But Klara’s story is far from quiet. She recounts the tale of a family torn apart by World War II, and disgraceful acts committed against a community on the Pacific island paradise of Java. As harrowing details emerge and stunning truths come to light, Jenni is compelled to confront a secret she’s spent a lifetime burying.

Weaving together the lives of two very different women, Isabel Wolff has created a captivating novel of love, loss, and hope that reaches across generations.

About Isabel Wolff

Isabel Wolff's ten bestselling novels are published worldwide. 'Ghostwritten', set in present day Cornwall and on wartime Java, was published in the UK in March 2014; 'The Very Picture of You' was published in the UK and the US in October 2011. 'A Vintage Affair', was an Amazon.co.uk 'Best of 2009' title and was shortlisted by the American Library Assocation for their Reading List awards (Women's Fiction). Isabel lives in west London with her children, younger step-son and cocker spaniel puppy.

I thoroughly enjoyed both A Vintage Affair and The Very Picture of You and have been anxiously awaiting something new from this author. Shadows Over Paradise was published earlier this year in the UK under the title, Ghostwritten.

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 – The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff

December 12, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

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

Book Review – The Very Picture of You by Isabel WolffThe Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff
Published by Bantam on October 4th 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway, Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Vintage Affair, Shadows Over Paradise

four-stars

Where the eye sees the brushstroke, the heart sees the truth.

From Isabel Wolff, the internationally bestselling author of A Vintage Affair, comes a beguiling novel about artistic inspirations, family secrets, and the courage to turn one’s life into a masterpiece.

At thirty-five, Gabriella Graham—“Ella” to her family and friends—has already made a name for herself as a successful portrait artist in London. She can capture the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalize it on canvas. This gift has earned Ella commissions from royals and regular folks alike.

But closer to home, Ella finds the truth more elusive. Her father abandoned the family when she was five, and her mother has remained silent on the subject ever since. Ella’s sister, Chloe, is engaged to Nate, an American working in London, but Ella suspects that he may not be so committed. Then, at Chloe’s behest, Ella agrees to paint Nate’s portrait.

From session to session, Ella begins to see Nate in a different light, which gives rise to conflicted feelings. In fact, through the various people she paints—an elderly client reflecting on her life, another woman dreading the prospect of turning forty, a young cyclist (from a photograph) who met a tragic end—Ella realizes that there is so much more to a person’s life than what is seen on the surface, a notion made even clearer when an unexpected email arrives from the other side of the world. And as her portraits of Nate and the others progress, they begin to reveal less about their subjects than the artist herself.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in Isabel Wolff’s vibrant and textured story, these words are brilliantly crafted to convey the humor, mystery, and beauty that exists within each of us.

‘I felt like Tantalus, neck-deep in water that he could never drink, grasping at fruit that was always just out of reach.’

Ella is an extremely successful portrait artist who has just been asked by her sister Chloe to do a portrait of her future brother-in-law, Nate, whom she despises. Early on in Nate and Chloe’s relationship, Ella overheard Nate speaking to someone and it appeared that he was not having an honest relationship with Chloe and that forever changed her opinion of him. After only their first sitting where she begins Nate’s portrait, her feelings have drastically changed towards him and Ella doesn’t know how to stop them, even if she wanted to.

Ella is also dealing with recent revelations regarding the father who left her and her mother when Ella was only five years old. Her mother always told her how he abandoned them after she caught him with another woman and that he made the decision to leave his family in order to be with her. Ella never had a reason to doubt her mother but when she discovers that may not be an accurate accounting of what actually happened she is more confused than ever.

This was a very interesting read and I enjoyed it immensely. Once the story began to unfold I had an idea of how it would all unveil; however, Isabel Wolff wrapped up all of the loose ends fabulously. I feared that it would be your ‘typical’ type of ending but I was left completely satisfied. I loved the details of Ella’s painting sessions: the particulars of the colors she uses, how she mixes them and the steps she takes to create the portrait of the person she’s painting.

‘Then came the moment when I put in the very last thing I ever add to a portrait – the light in the eyes. That’s when I feel like Pygmalion, having life breathed into his statue; because it’s that little flick of white in each pupil that finally – ping! – brings a portrait alive.’

I also enjoyed the closeness she develops with the people she paints and the stories she learns about them and how it’s woven into the story. It reminded me quite a lot of Isabel Wolff’s other novel that I’ve read, A Vintage Affair, and how the main character becomes immersed in one of her customer’s lives. (Also a fabulous read)

There were parts of this novel that I had a hard time liking at first, primarily the feelings that Ella develops for her sister’s fiancée. Strangely unfitting and not exactly understandable… her infatuation with him occurred a bit too quickly for it to be plausible in my opinion. Fortunately though, it was well written and by the end I was mollified with the outcome.

I also had difficulty liking her mother who was a major character in the story. Despite her tale of what had happened between her and Ella’s father, the fact that she withheld so much information for so long and even after she told it there still seemed to be something missing and I believed her to still be lying throughout the entire story. It’s hard to really care for a character if you feel that they are being deceitful. I loved the side-story of Grace and Mike that was the part of the story that touched me the most.

This is now the second book I’ve read by Isabel Wolff and it certainly won’t be the last.

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Book Review – With a Little Luck by Caprice Crane

September 4, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

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

Book Review – With a Little Luck by Caprice CraneWith a Little Luck by Caprice Crane
Published by Bantam on July 26, 2011
Pages: 308
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Funny-ha-ha
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

If love is in the cards, then somebody stacked the deck.

Los Angeles radio DJ Beryl “Berry” Lambert, whose name means luck, doesn’t much believe in it—although, thanks to her dear old gambling dad, she’s a bit superstitious, certain that everything happens for a reason. She keeps a four-leaf clover in her wallet, never takes off her horseshoe necklace, and won’t tempt fate by walking under a ladder or opening an umbrella indoors. Ever.

When it comes to love, though, she could use a little luck. Two disastrous relationships back-to-back can mean only one thing to a woman who knows that everything good or bad happens in threes: A third Mr. Wrong is imminent. But fellow DJ Ryan Riley goes against the odds. Their on-air battle of the sexes is a hit for the station and sparks some serious heat after hours. Ryan is funny and sexy, and he thinks Berry’s quirkiness is cute. Is their romance doomed by the numbers—or is a girl who leaves nothing to chance finally ready to gamble?

Caprice Crane’s witty, winsome novel about the game of modern romance proves that with a little luck and the right stakes, everybody wins.

This is the first Caprice Crane novel that I’ve read so I didn’t know what to expect; however, I follow her on twitter and she’s constantly cracking me up. I was hoping for the same humor in novel form but it didn’t hit the mark for me. For the first third of the book there was no apparent plot and I had no clue what the point of the book even was. At times I had to stop, shake myself, and continue reading when the words had turned into Charlie Brown’s teacher.

The heroine of the novel, Beryl ‘Berry’ Lambert was essentially completely unlikable, and oftentimes got so wrapped up in being funny that it’s almost as if she forgot about her audience and the story line entirely. She drove me absolutely nuts with her superstitions and the occasional reference to herself.

“This alone isn’t remarkable; believe it or not, Berry gets her share of the lookie-loos.”

Yes. She was talking about herself. Direct quote.

The rest of the characters failed to garner interest as well, including her gambling addict father who at one point has to ask if he can come live with her when his electricity is shut off. And then that other time when he has a friend call Berry asking for $500 for ‘bail money’ because he’s in jail… when he really wasn’t. Really sad situation because she really loved her dad, he was just a loser, and I was glad that she eventually stand up to him.

By the end it had garnered a few giggles, but the smattering of well-placed “Tweets” were too few and far between for it to be a successful book in my eyes.

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Short and Sweet Review – Nobody’s Darling by Teresa Medeiros

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Short and Sweet Review – Nobody’s Darling by Teresa MedeirosNobody's Darling by Teresa Medeiros
Published by Bantam on April 20, 2011
Pages: 398
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Pleasure of Your Kiss

four-half-stars

 

Billy Darling never enjoyed being a wanted man until the day Miss Esmerelda Fine marched into the Tumbleweed Saloon and pointed her derringer at his heart. Lucky for him, she's a mighty poor shot. Instead of killing him, she hires him to find her runaway brother. He should turn down her offer. He should resist her charms. But he doesn't. Because there comes a time in every man's life when he's got nothing left to lose...but his heart.

 

I’m not what you would consider a Western fan, so I use that as the reason it took me so long to finally get around to reading this book. Nobody’s Darling tells the story of Esmerelda Fine who travels out West to find the man who killed her brother: Billy Darling. She finds him in Calamity, New Mexico and intent on killing him attempts to shoot him. Next thing she knows, she wakes up in a jail cell with Billy staring down at her; she had fainted as soon as the first shot was fired. Esmerelda discovers that her brother is actually alive and she promptly hires Billy Darling to help her locate him. Throughout their travels together in search of her brother, Esmerelda realizes that Billy is something much more than she had originally thought and she fears that she’s falling in love with him… but he’s an outlaw. Why would he ever want anything to do with a woman like her?

I have been a fan of Teresa Medeiros for quite some time now and I’m always pleased when I read yet another lovely book by her. Her characters always have chemistry that’s so honest that you can’t help but be touched by their love. This one certainly did not disappoint. 🙂

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