Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

July 13, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2018 5 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 – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesInvitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
Published by Bloomsbury USA on June 5, 2018
Pages: 256
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Short Summary: The tepid tale of a love triangle gone wrong (although do any of them ever go right?) that was inspired by Vladimir and Vera Nabokov’s marriage.

Thoughts: The summary makes it easy to go into this novel with certain expectations (seductive story, spellbinding psychological thriller) but this story is, possibly because it was written as a series of letters, comes off as extremely apathetic and lethargic.

Verdict: Unfortunately, this tale failed to seduce or spellbind me and considering this was meant to be based off the notorious Nabokov’s, I expected that infamous passion to bleed through the page more.three-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.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes
Published by Arcade on March 6, 2018
Pages: 272
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Short Summary: After climate change has irrevocably changed the world we live in, a group of individuals continues to live their day to day lives in the ruins of a crumbling city while struggling under the weight of their memories.

Thoughts: A story that’s eerily reminiscent of the world we live in today, painting a terrifying scenario of not just how the world can easily transform into a nightmare but individuals as well.

Verdict: Many have said that the post-apocalyptic genre has been overdone, but The City Where We Once Lived felt refreshingly different with its in-depth focus on the decline of humanity which also mirrored the downfall of the surrounding world.

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 – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley Books on March 20, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: MysteryHistorical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Goodreads

Also by this author: An Inquiry Into Love and Death

Short Summary: Journalist Fiona Sheridan has been unable to shake the mystery surrounding her sisters’ death twenty years past but when new evidence arises, it uncovers the secrets of a much older mystery as well.

Thoughts: This gothic mystery (with a dual timeline to boot) is quite the engaging and well-written tale despite its more implausible bits.

Verdict: Simone St. James’ writing is most impressive considering the fact that I read this over the course of an entire month (not the book’s fault, I was on vacation for 2 weeks as well) and still managed to retain the details of the story and fall immediately back into it whenever I was able to open the pages once again.

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.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesWe Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on June 12, 2018
Pages: 304
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and ShadowsQueen of the Dark Things

Short Summary: A collection of ten short stories including “As They Continue to Fall”, a man who hunts angels, “Hell They Call Him, the Screamers”, a butcher that liberates souls, “Hell Creek”, dinosaurs that won’t stay dead long, and “We Are Where the Nightmares Go”, a little girl opens a door beneath her bed.

Thoughts: This was a most excellent collection of bizarre and horrific stories that included a short story he had written twenty years ago, effectively showing the evolution of Cargill’s writing from fantastic to superb.

Verdict: I’ve read a few of Cargill’s novels (Dreams and Shadows is absolutely fantastic and 100% worth checking out) but when an author excels at short fiction it always makes me sit upright. More, please!

four-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.

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Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

May 19, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2017 5 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 720
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

three-half-stars

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Well, it’s finally here.

I’m so exasperated and everyone and their mother has given this 5 stars at this point so I’m feeling like quite the outcast. I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, adored A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin was quite possibly my most anticipated book of the year. I took the day off work to read this and while I can’t say that I regret doing so or that the book was bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like, so I’ll start with the good.

The best parts of this book were, surprisingly, the war scenes. We all knew a war was coming in this installment but I never quite expected it to be nearly as epic and for all the fae and their magical powers to be quite as badass as they were. Savage, brutal, and thrilling (and the war makes up a large chunk of this book). In terms of the best (non-violent) parts, Feyre getting to explore more that the Court of Dreams has to offer was lovely. Her depictions of the city were enough to form magical cities in my mind, but the library carved inside an actual mountain? The shelves built into the stone walls, the reading nooks, the low-burning lamps, the cozy chairs, and the fireplaces.

And lastly, I loved how she incorporates all of the lesser characters that seemed to have minor roles in the conclusion: the Suriel, the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and even a new terrifying beastie.

And now onto the bad.

I’ll do my best.

My first issue: the beginning. The story opens where the ending of Mist left off with Feyre returning to the Spring Court. She’s intent on gathering information about King Hybern and his armies but it turned into this long and drawn out affair that transformed Feyre into this cruel and vindictive person that I didn’t much care for. What she intended to achieve simply didn’t seem necessary to the story as a whole either. My second issue was actually with the writing itself. I’m not sure if less editing was done, or time constraints to get this done and published (or a combination of the two) but this read incredibly uneven. There’s so much to accomplish with a final book in a series and it felt like Maas had a checklist of things that needed to be answered, actions that the characters had to take to set up certain events, etc. and we bounced hurriedly onto the next task on her list just as soon as one was completed. The story lacked a grace and flow that was needed to draw these three stories together in order to give it the final farewell it deserved. And lastly, in terms of farewells, the ending caused the majority of my grumbles. Maas implied throughout the entire book of things impending that never came to fruition and things ended all nice and neat with a pretty little bow on top. Clearly, many (and I mean many) fans were perfectly content, I, unfortunately, was not. But as I said, it wasn’t a bad ending but it wasn’t the ending I expected.

Maas has already announced that there are two additional trilogies to come set in this same world and while I was originally excited, I’d really like to know the focus on those stories before committing to more. What started as a beauty and the beast retelling turned into a fascinating world full of magic and fae. While I don’t give this final installment the highest of marks, this was still a most engrossing trilogy.

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Waiting on Wednesday – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

February 1, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 12 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 648
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

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It’s become a tradition that I take a day off work to read the new release in Maas’ Throne of Glass series but I am absolutely taking a day off for this one.

And holy shit, that cover could not be more gorgeous.

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 Review – The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano

September 15, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2016 1 Comment

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.

Book Review – The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefanoThe Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 13th 2016
Pages: 208
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Wither, Perfect Ruin, Burning Kingdoms

three-stars

Lionel is a wild boy, who doesn’t much like to be around other people. He’d rather be a purring cat or a wolf stalking the woods.

Marybeth is a nice girl. She doesn’t need to be told to comb her hair or brush her teeth, and she’s kind to everyone at the orphanage . . . Lionel most of all.

Different though they are, Lionel and Marybeth are best friends in a world that has forgotten about them. So when a mysterious blue spirit possesses Marybeth—and starts to take control—they know they must stop it before the real Marybeth fades away forever.

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‘Lionel already understood. He could make the chickens lay eggs and he could reason with the most stubborn of foxes. But he had learned years ago that humans were more dangerous than the things that stalked about the wilderness.’

Lionel may be a wild boy and Marybeth may be a nice girl, but these two 9-year-olds are one another’s only friends in a world where they have no one else. Lionel and Marybeth, along with six other orphans, live in the care of widowed Mrs. Mannerd who more than has her hands full. Much of their free time is spent traversing the woods surrounding the house where Lionel especially feels most at home due to the fact that he himself feels more animal than human. He likes to feed the wild animals from his hand and refuses to eat at the dinner time, preferring instead to eat beneath it. Marybeth is a perfectly normal little girl that manages to soothe the rougher edges of Lionel’s wildness. During one of their excursions in the wilderness, Lionel tells Marybeth of a blue fox that he’s currently trying to get to trust him, but to no avail. When Marybeth spots the blue creature from her bedroom window one night, she rushes to get a look at it only to find that it’s not a fox at all but something that ends up possessing and changing Marybeth.

This was such an endearing tale of friendship that will touch hearts of all ages. Lionel and Marybeth are the unlikeliest of duos, however, their friendship becomes vital to both of them. Their friendship helps Lionel to reacquaint himself with his emotions and come to terms with his loneliness at the orphanage which Marybeth also deals with similar feelings of isolation. When Marybeth is no longer Marybeth, having been inhabited by the ghost, it’s up to Lionel to take charge like he’s never had to before in order to help his friend solve the mystery of who this ghost is. The mystery and paranormal aspects were curious yet left me with more than a few questions (unlikely to be a problem with the appropriate age group) but the real story here is the friendship and the lesson in mortality.

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is yet another unexpectedly sinister Middle grade adventure from DeStefano. The bleak undertones are paired well with a message of hope and a mystery that will keep any reader in this age group speculating. Lauren DeStefano has definitely found her niche in the Middle Grade genre.

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint [Purchase//Review]
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker [Purchase]
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman [Purchase]

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Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

June 30, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2016 7 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 640
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Thorns and Roses

five-stars

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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I’M SORRY. I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS WITHOUT SOME SPOILERS. BEWARE.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Feyre and Tamlin have survived Amarantha and have returned home, but things are no longer the same after everything they suffered through. Tamlin has taken his protective instincts to a terrifying new high and Feyre is slowly wasting away from her guilt and the nightmares that haunt her even during her waking hours. She wishes to serve a purpose, to learn to fight so that she could defend herself if need be, and to learn the ins and outs of her newly gained powers. Tamlin refuses to allow her to do anything and day after day Feyre loses more and more of herself. When Rhysand shows up to call on the bargain they made with one another when she was near death Under the Mountain, the time spent away from the Spring Court begins to open her eyes once more.

Basically, everything about the first book was injected with steroids and made infinitely better. I talked about what a strong and capable character Feyre was, and she was, and sure she’s fae now so she’s all magical but what an incredible character build. Simply incredible. Maas spends a lot of time detailing the darkness and guilt that had penetrated her mind and that mental strain was so saddening to read. The fact that she suffered through those things to save the one she loved only to have him hinder her healing and actually make it worse because of his own lingering suffering. If I had actually liked Tamlin in the first book I’d probably feel bad for him but I didn’t so I don’t. I have to also applaud the slow and steady build of the grasp on her powers too. It’s always nice in fantasy stories to see the characters have to actual struggle and work at shit rather than waking up and being an ultimate badass out of nowhere. Maas did an equally impressive job with Celaena in her Throne of Glass series so hats off to her.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

I picked at her and Tamlin’s relationship as well in the first book, noting its lack of depth. Sure, they had some steamy scenes but that’s ultimately all it was: physical. Well, holy shit sticks. Feyre and Tamlin were a complete and utter farce compared to Feyre and Rhysand. The passion and desire… it was palpable and I got so emotional that I straight up burst into tears on the freaking bike at the gym during an especially lovey moment. I’m not a big crier, for the record. I’m really curious if Maas went into this series with a complete game plan in mind in terms of the romance because the second book did a bit of a 180° which I think would have been hard for Tamlin fans to understand. Feyre doesn’t immediately jump to a new relationship though, it’s slowly navigated through for over half of this 640 page story and over many months of mental healing (which Rhysand also helps her with in such a way that Tamlin never did). And then before they even got to the actual romance there was plenty of flirting that had me screaming OH MY GAWD JUST FUCKING KISS ALREADY. Either way, I am all on board the Feyre and Rhysand train. Toot toot. Fun side note: I had a good time imagining Rhysand as David Gandy because why not. 😂

“My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds.”

I’ve found that most books that have some an immense focus on the romance tends to slack off on other aspects of the book. I may be talking a lot about the romance because it was truly off the charts amazing, but there are other facets of this book that are equally deserving of note. Most especially would be the descriptions and characterizations of other members of the Night Court. The inner circle: Amren, Azriel, Mor, Cassian. Such comprehensively written characters that never faded to the background. They became Feyre’s family and it was wonderful to see her come back to life not just because of a new, passionate romance with someone that truly appreciated her but because of new friends that became new family. I also enjoyed the exquisite descriptions of the Night Court but most especially of Velaris — the City of Starlight.

Honestly, it’s near impossible sometimes to rationally discuss books that you loved. For a book blogger, I consider myself to be pretty restrained in regards to how crazy I get about books I love. But with A Court of Mist and Fury, there were moments where I felt so overwhelmed at how unbelievably awesome this story was that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started to think I should either take a break or find a paper bag to breathe into just to be safe. I may not have loved A Court of Thorns and Roses but I adored this book. There was excitement and badassery and the most passionate love that managed to make me envious for a pair of fictional character in addition to some of the steamiest sex scenes I have ever read and yes I have read my fair share. Simply put, it was superb and it’s going to be one hell of a long wait for May 2017 when the next installment comes out. Until then, I’ll just be over here.

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Book Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

June 24, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 2 Comments

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.

Book Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
on May 5th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Thorns and Roses

three-half-stars

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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A fairy-tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a world made up of humans and faeries. Five hundred years before, humans were enslaved by faeries but following the Treaty, the wall was built to relegate humans to a sliver of land kept separate from faeries. Growing up, Feyre has known nothing but hate for faeries and their kind, hearing the stories of their violence and abuse of power. Her family was once great, living in a manor, with her father being a lucrative merchant. But now, at nineteen years old she is the youngest of her two other sisters, but it is left up to her to ensure her families safety after their mothers death and her fathers inability to care for them any longer. Not wanting to fall asleep another night with an empty belly, she sets out to the dangerous forest and does manage to fell a deer, but also a massive wolf. This wolf though, was actually fae and his master appears soon after demanding retribution by way of her death. Shockingly, she is offered an alternative: that Feyre come live on his land forever, in safety not to be enslaved, never to see her family again. She accepts.

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

Having lived in fear of the fae, she is shocked to realize that they aren’t quite as brutal as is commonly said. And the one that offered her her life, Tamlin, is incredibly kind to her forcing her to re-evaluate her generalized feelings about his kind. During her time there, she discovers that there is a blight on the land that resulted in the fae being forced to forever hide their faces behind masks, a female fae that everyone seems to be terrified of, and enough secrets to make anyone curious. But by the time she finds out exactly what is being kept from her, will it be too late?

This was one of those that I never got around to reading (even though I received an ARC) because of the massive hype surrounding it. Eighteen months later and look at me, I’m finally reading it! So much time had lapsed that I had even forgot that this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a faerie twist! Incredibly fascinating concept so I was eager to love it. Alas, I did not, but it was still an enjoyable tale.

From the very beginning I adored Feyre. She was quite a capable character that was willing to do anything to make sure her family was able to eat. Even though she was the youngest of her two other sisters (with one of them being a royal asshole that I totally would have let starve) and even though her father could have gotten a job but simply didn’t. The fact that she stayed as strong as she was, didn’t let life beat her down, was a testament to her tenacity and I loved her for it. Once she arrived in the faerie kingdom, she got a few points docked for being such an imbecile and running off into danger all the damn time but I guess we have to consider the fact that even though she was being told shit was dangerous, she didn’t really know who to trust. Tamlin was the requisite studly yet brooding faerie that she was clearly meant to fall for from the very beginning. He was interesting but he was no Beast… he was trying way too damn hard and it becomes a little obvious in the end why that is but I won’t spoil that. All in all though he was a pretty boring love interest that lacked a lot of depth.

And now for my biggest issue: the romance. Honestly, the sexy times descriptions by themselves were cringe worthy.

“…ignoring how easily I could see the cut of his muscles beneath his white shirt, the way the blood soaking it made them stand out even more.”

And my favorite that had me laughing like a loon:

“My fingers grappled with his belt buckle, and his mouth found mine again. Our tongues danced – not a waltz or a minuet, but a war dance, a death dance of bone drums and screaming fiddles.”

I mean, seriously? War dance? Bone drums? Screaming fiddles?

I mentioned that Tamlin lacked depth, well, the romance really lacked depth. But then again, if you think about it, seems a bit fitting in terms of Disney fairy-tale comparisons. They make swoony eyes at one another, someone gets put into mortal danger leading the other to make some heroic rescue, there’s some dancing and kisses and just general love stuff going on. Disney romances never consist of talking about feelings and working through issues, it’s just sweet and flawless and they live happily ever after, the end. Fortunately, Maas didn’t leave us with that yawn worthy ending. Which brings me to the question I’d been asking myself almost the entire time: So… who’s Gaston in this tale? Amarantha. Evil incarnate. And yes, a woman. She turns the tables forcing Feyre to be the rescuer in this story and basically, badassery ensues. I will let the rest be a surprise in addition to the character fully introduced near the end that made it ALL worth while.

Maas really had a fascinating concept with her fantasy/fairy-tale hybrid, but I feel that it never quite came to fruition for me. The world-building was superb and I feel with a bit more time delving into the actual characters in future installments we’ll have a real winner with this one. At least one can hope.

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Book Review – Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

September 4, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 2 Comments

Book Review – Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1st 2015
Pages: 656
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Thorns and Roses

four-half-stars

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Word of warning: This is a book 4 review, therefore there will be spoilers from previous installments.

‘She was the heir of fire.
She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.’

Just to quickly summarize the devastation that Heir of Fire left us with: Celaena/Aelin is headed back to Adarlan to begin the search for the Wyrdkeys and the war against the King after leaving Rowan behind, Dorian has become enslaved by his father, Chaol has fled and thankfully took Fleetfoot on his way out (or I could have never forgiven him) and in another part of the world, Manon has been made Wing Leader. Oh such fabulously wonderful characters, it was so nice to pick their stories back up. Queen of Shadows picks right up where HoF left off and continues the same steady sort of pace that some loved and some hated. I was a big fan for the sole reason that the story was really deserving of some slow simmering. I’m all for big time action scenes, however, I feel with this series there is not only the fantasy world-building aspect that is key but there is a wide cast of characters that need sufficient time to build them as well. And there are so many intricate details that just add to the elegant complexity of this fascinating tale.

Typically, I find that when I’m reading stories that deal with multiple POVs, there’s always ones that I prefer over the others and almost always one that I just can’t stand. I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all. Aelin’s POV because we’ve seen her come into her power but now we get to see her come into her role as queen (and still with the snarky we’ve all come to expect). We get Arobynn with more of an involvement in the story and they touch on their past (and Sam, *sniff*) which seemed a long time coming after the focus on him from the prequel stories so long ago. Aelin finds a new female friend in (shocker) Lysandra and her story/addition is fantastic. But mostly I loved Manon’s because… well, WHO DOESN’T LOVE MANON. It was great getting a little behind the scenes look at Asterin’s background but we’re introduced to a new character, Elide, who plays a part in the witches story but also has an interesting tie to Aelin’s past.

‘She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows, and these men were already carrion.’

There were a couple minuscule issues I had though. 1. Chaol continues to look down his nose in regards to the things that Aelin has done and continues to do. It got irritating after a while because, come on, craziness is happening and desperate times call for desperate measures and all that jazz. His opinions caused him to become a distant character in this installment and we honestly didn’t see him as much as I’d like. I wanted them to settle their differences and get on with it. 2. The villain. I’m a sucker for back stories on the villain and while the King was doing some pretty horrifying things, there was clearly an interesting/crazy story there regarding how he got to this point and why and how and why. I would have liked to see this delved into during his brief POV sections to build him up as a character like any other rather than a mini info-dump. 3. I would have also loved more of Kaltain’s back story as well because wow did her role ever get crazy.

The plot itself was incredibly detailed but still actually made forward progress, which I’ve found can sometimes be an issue with fantasy novels. There were slower moments, but there some impressive action scenes that helped balance it out. What I loved most were the small connections that pop up, small references that connect the previous installments and mostly the prequel are such a joy to see when they all come full circle.

The romance was subtle and definitely never made any attempts to high-jack the story, hallelujah. But oh man, the TENSION. It never amounted to much, which did make my eye go a little twitchy but all I gotta say is View Spoiler »

“…if it was death separating us… I would find you. I don’t care how many rules it would break. Even if I had to get all three keys myself and open a gate, I would find you again. Always.”

I appreciated the small amount of resolution we’re given, despite the fact that more disaster is inevitable since this is only installment 4 of 6. But still, gotta love a story with a solid ending rather than an ending that makes you pull your hair out when you realize how long you have to wait for the next one. Throne of Glass is easily one of my all-time favorite series with an amazing cast of characters and an incredibly thrilling fantasy world.

“Let’s go rattle the stars.”

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Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

September 1, 2015 Bonnie Book Blitz, YA 1 Comment

Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens Pages: 656
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

IT’S HEEERRRRREEEEEE.

Admittedly, I’m relatively a newbie when it comes to the Throne of Glass series. I finally picked it up in January of this year and read the prequels and books 1-3 back to back. I couldn’t get enough, it’s truly an amazing series. And Queen of Shadows is now here and I couldn’t be more excited. This book is such a big deal for me that I took the entire day off work. lol If you still haven’t picked up this series… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! And if you have read it, and don’t yet have Queen of Shadows, check out the first 5 chapters available to read now!

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.
Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen

June 25, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 2 Comments

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.

Book Review – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 19th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Scarlet, Lady Thief

two-stars

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can't refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he's stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Scarlet series

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen {My Review}
Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen {My Review}

I’ve been quite the black sheep when it comes to the series as a whole so I might as well go out with a bang. I did not like this one. At all. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with it, however, it was extremely uneventful and didn’t go out with the bang and/or explosive finale that I was kind of hoping for this whole time. Throwing a wrench in the whole Robin Hood tale by transforming Marian into one of the gang was definitely cause for excitement but the story itself continued much on the same trodden path and inevitably failed to live up to its potential. So, let’s break down my issues with this installment.

THERE BE SPOILERS.

Scarlet continued to be problematic for me. I’ve gotten past her strange dialect, mostly because it’s not as prevalent considering Eleanor has “taught” her how to talk like a lady even though we all know she’s completely capable of it. She has to begin talking like a lady again because her father, King Richard has given her a bit of land thus making her Lady Huntington. The entirety of the story consists of Scarlet going all “oh woe is me” about nobody liking her. What? She acted as if people were constantly shooting spit balls at her or something. It felt very out of character considering she’s supposed to be some thieving badass yet she’s whining because nobody likes her. Get over yourself, Charlie Brown Scarlet.

And then there’s Robin Hood. So many issues here. First off, the whole PTSD plotline seems to have found its way under a rug or something because it’s never made an issue again. Even though they have many nights sleeping next to each other. Apparently, the “love can heal” message the author was going for in Lady Thief actually worked. Ha. Right. Then there’s the magic trick performed where Robin turns into a spectacular douchebag right before your very eyes! Sure, one of those douchebag moments ended up being a momentary lapse but DUDE.

First DB moment: I don’t know if you recall but when Scarlet was married to Gisbourne, Robin could barely even kiss her because *gasp* she’s married. You know, against her will. To a sadist. And then there was the subtle mentioning of her basically being no longer pure because of said marriage that took place against her will in order to save Robin’s life. But then in this installment, he changes his tune. All those awful things are never mentioned and he acts shocked that Scarlet is ready and willing to marry him. Well, if I was a douchebag like that I guess I’d be shocked anyone wanted to be with me too.

Second DB moment: Scarlet was gifted lands which essentially gave her more power than the other douchebag of this tale, Prince John. It comes in handy when he tries to re-kidnap her for the “crimes” she was already pardoned for. Scarlet keeps this bit of information from Rob until she has to, and why? Well, if you recall, Robin was Earl of Huntingdon before the lands were taken from him. So his lands are now Scarlet’s, not that it should matter… but it does! He has the audacity to actually be pissed about it like she alone stole his land from him. This fucking guy. Way to make her feel bad about something completely beyond her control.

I’ve spent so much time complaining about those two I actually forgot the major reason Lion Heart was my least favorite installment: Prince John. In Lady Thief, John was still relatively villain-y however in this installment he reverted to his animated version.

He became such a non-villain and every time he was in a scene I imagined a toddler throwing a tantrum that didn’t get his way about something. He was a spoiled brat and it was just ridiculous that he still managed to almost best Scarlet and Robin. Eleanor really needed to slap the shit out of that boy though.

Another small issue was the strange side stories going on that were seemingly thrown in there for filler since they lacked any sort of resolution. Please do not tell me there’s going to be a spin-off. And that “ending”! I’m convinced my ARC was missing the final chapter because what is up with that lackluster and completely inadequate end? I mean come on, Sean Connery King Richard didn’t even make an appearance! Boooooooooooooooo.

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Early Review – The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

April 4, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 3 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.

Early Review – The Sunlit Night by Rebecca DinersteinThe Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein
Published by Bloomsbury USA on June 2nd 2015
Pages: 272
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


one-star

From an exhilarating new voice, a stunning debut novel—which Jonathan Safran Foer calls as "lyrical as a poem, psychologically rich as a thriller."

The story of two lives that intersect ninety-five miles above the Arctic Circle, The Sunlit Night is written in prose so nimble it skips lightly atop the surface of the constantly illuminated landscape while exploring the depth and complexity of the human condition.

Shortly after her college graduation, Frances flees a painful breakup and her claustrophobic childhood home in Manhattan, which has become more airless in the aftermath of two family announcements: her parents' divorce and her younger sister's engagement. She seeks refuge in an apprenticeship at an isolated Norwegian artists' colony, but finds only one painter living there: Nils, an enigmatic middle-aged descendant of the Sami reindeer hunters who specializes in the color yellow.

Yasha, an eighteen-year-old Russian immigrant raised in a bakery in Brighton Beach, is kneading bread in the shop's window when he sees his mother for the first time in a decade. As he gains a selfish and unreliable parent, he loses his beloved father. He must carry out his father's last wish to be buried "at the top of the world" and reconcile with the charismatic woman who abandoned them both.

Frances's and Yasha's unlikely connection and growing romance fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes. They discover that to be alone is not always to be lonely, and that however far they travel for independence, it is ultimately love that gives them their place in the world.

This is a very unhappy, very long review, full of my eye-twitching adventures through the pages of Sunlit Night. Oh, and just a warning for those of you that frown upon gif-filled reviews? Run. Run while you still can.

I don’t derive any sort of pleasure from reading a book I hate. I don’t like hating books in general, but alas, it does happen. My 11-year-old asked me just last night, “Do you ever read a book and really don’t like it?” I laughed and told him, “Of course, you can’t expect to like every single book you read. Sometimes it can be poorly written, sometimes it can have characters that you just can’t understand, but yes, there are books I’ve read that I have not liked and some I’ve even hated.” The book that flashed through my head when he mentioned hating a book? This book. What’s funny is for the longest time, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls took the cake for book I hated the most. That book, which I renamed in seething tones ‘Horsey Camp’, became my reference point for one star ratings. “I didn’t like this at all, BUT… is it Horsey Camp bad?” Well, now I have a new reference point. I haven’t come up with a nickname yet. I’m taking suggestions.

So what is this strange little ridiculous book even about? We have two main characters, Frances and Yasha, and the story switches between both of their points-of-view. Frances is in her early twenties and she’s just been dumped by her college boyfriend. She returns to her childhood home where the house is in turmoil because her sister just got engaged and her parents basically hate the guy. There is talk of disowning her. Of not attending her wedding. Soap opera stuff. Frances decides to accept an apprenticeship at a Viking Museum in Lofoten, Norway. Her parents tell her good, because they’re also breaking up so she won’t have a home to live in. It’s all very dramatic. Frances also has thoughts of whether her parents are good kissers, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So Frances leaves to go find herself and to paint with some Vikings.

Nope. The Vikings weren’t badass like Ragnar or anything unfortunately.

Yasha is a seventeen-year-old kid that has a lot of angst. Him and his father immigrated from Russia, leaving his mother behind, and have been running a bakery in Brooklyn for the last decade. His mother shows up randomly one day telling Yasha that he needs to tell his father that she wants a divorce. You know, like an adult. Yasha’s father isn’t well and doesn’t think he’ll be able to handle the news so he refuses to be the one to tell him. His father announces a glorious adventure he has planned that involves them going back to Russia because he’s determined to get his wife back. Yeah, awkward. Yasha still doesn’t tell him and the two travel all the way to Russia with his father in denial about the fact that she isn’t even there anymore. His father finds out about the divorce anyways. As was expected, he doesn’t take it well… at all. Yasha becomes intent to honor his last wishes, to be buried “at the top of the world.” So Yasha travels to the land of the Vikings where our two main characters meet.

Yasha also has many, many inappropriate comments about his parents. Yes, I sense a theme as well. “What do you even consider ‘inappropriate’? You’re probably overreacting.” Well, since you asked.

‘I wanted to know if my father had been a good kisser. I wanted to know how many men had kissed my mother, and how well. I wanted to know if she planned on kissing new men now. I wanted to know if my mother was a good kisser.’

That lovely line was the first inappropriate comment (from Frances) of MANY you can expect. This was after her parents announced they’re splitting up. Because yes, my parents are divorcing, I shall sit here and contemplate whether it was their kissing skills that ultimately destroyed their love. Frances was the least inappropriate, thankfully, although there was a lot of thought given to her Viking roommate and his pooping habits (no, not kidding) but that wasn’t terribly inappropriate. Just weird. Very, very weird.

Brace yourself. Here comes the super awkward stuff.

‘Yasha imagined his mother’s panties. He imagined his mother wearing different panties for every day of the week. It’s Friday. It’s Saturday.’

“His mother, reclining on her rock, with her body unfurled, looked unquestionably like a woman. Yasha had in some sense never understood her this way – he didn’t know if she shaved her armpits or legs, what creams she kept by the mirror, whether she slept naked or in shorts […]”

‘He entertained the gross, exhilarating idea of his mother being a talented lover. Physically. He wanted to inherit some of her talent.’

I know. I’m terribly sorry to have to do that to you but I needed you to understand! Sunlit Night is the authors debut novel, however, she wrote poetry before and it is evident in a few small sections that I really enjoyed. The area in Norway that the novel is based in is where the sun never sets. Frances and her Viking roommate will often get in the car late at night and just drive and the descriptions of their car trips when the light was dimmest were lush and inviting.

‘These hours were characterized by a wildness of colors, the combined power of a sunset and sunrise. It was easy to watch the horizon for hours straight, the sun in perpetual motion, the sky turning orange and cranberry until at three it returned to blue, and I felt ready for bed.’

‘In every meadow grew white and yellow grasses. Waterfall veins streaked the mountains, and a little rain in the air prepared the sky for rainbows. We drove through a passing wink of colors, a natural hologram.’

Honestly, those lines did nothing but make me angry because those were literally the only lines that I enjoyed reading. Those lines show a potential this novel might have had but never came close to achieving. But who knows, I could be completely wrong. Publisher’s Weekly calls this novel captivating. They also called this novel a rich reading experience with lyrical and silky prose. Did I also mention they gave this a starred review? Kirkus called this a “deliciously melancholy debut”.

Not only was this an extraordinarily painful read, it was incredibly boring. Dinerstein might have her descriptive detail of landscapes down pat, but her characters are flat and one-dimensional. Their actions lack any sort of clarity and their emotions (if they even have any) are kept completely in the dark. Even when the requisite romance is introduced between our two characters, it comes completely out of nowhere.

‘I will not lose Yasha. Maybe his mother had lost him, maybe his father had lost him, Brooklyn had lost him – not me. It wasn’t a matter of somebody keeping him. It was a matter of my wanting him, wanting his face near my face.’

This is clearly a moment that was meant to be profound, however, because of the complete lack of chemistry between Frances and Yasha it lacks any sort of passion. When the two part ways they contemplate what could be between the two, yet there’s no evidence of where these thoughts even came from. The whole idea of both of them being lost and finding each other would work a whole lot better as to explaining their affections for one another if we actually witnessed said affection. It wasn’t even instalove, because while the love was instant, the author could describe it all she wanted but I never saw it. Less telling, more showing.

Reputable magazines can shout loudly from the rooftops about how amazing this one is, but I just didn’t see it. At all. I’ll leave you all with my favorite line of the bunch.

‘To Yasha, the word business meant bread or sex.’

Whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

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